Patriots 27, Dolphins 17

Grading the Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots

 

asalguero@MiamiHerald.com

•  Quarterback: The fumble that led to a touchdown is not his fault because getting rocked by an unblocked blitzer from the blind side is not the quarterback’s fault. But the completion percentage barely above 50 percent? The inability to be accurate with the football downfield? The two interceptions? The inability to get his team in the end zone more than twice? Those are on Tannehill. And a franchise quarterback has to be better than that. GRADE: C-minus.

•  Receivers/tight ends: Brandon Gibson, who had a great day last week and was becoming one of Gibson’s favorite receivers, is out for the season and so this corps just got weaker. The Dolphins had no deep game. Brian Hartline averaged only 9.3 yards per catch while Mike Wallace ran mostly sideline and slant routes. Wallace and Tannehill are clearly out of synch. Some of Wallace’s seven targets that fell incomplete are his fault as he dropped at least one and failed to win on a one-on-one slant in the end zone. But others are simply now thrown very well or on time. Charles Clay did win his one-on-one match ups against throughout the day and was Miami’s most dependable player in the passing game. GRADE: C.

•  Offensive line: The Dolphins gave up six sacks but four of those came in the fourth quarter when offensive coordinator Mike Sherman basically gave up on running the football and the Patriots teed off. Blitzes were a problem throughout the second half as it seemed the Patriots figured out Miami had a new starting right tackle and a player at left tackle who had only four days of practice. The protection was excellent in the first half and the run-blocking was good throughout the game. GRADE: B-minus.

•  Defensive line: Olivier Vernon was active with a sack and a quarterback hurry but his batting of a fumble resulted in a costly first down for New England. Yes, it was a controversial call for the Dolphins but it was by the rulebook. Jared Odrick won his matchup against Logan Mankins and had two sacks. Cameron Wake hasn’t been the same since his knee injury four weeks ago and his two tackles without so much as a QB hurry is testament to that. GRADE: C.

•  Linebackers: Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler made a lot of tackles as they combined for 19 of them. But the Dolphins hired those two to make big plays, the cause fumbles to bat passes to do something that could change the course of the game. Not this day. Koa Misi? One solo tackle. GRADE: C-minus.

•  Secondary: When safeties Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons combine for 17 tackles, that’s bad. It means passes were being completed. It means runners were reaching the second and sometimes the third level of the defense. Nolan Carroll played in place of Dimitri Patterson in the third quarter and promptly gave up a TD pass. Patterson had holding call but it seemed dubious. He gave up long completion in which he complained he was pushed but it wasn’t called. Patterson had a tough day with the officials. GRADE: C-minus.

•  Special teams: Caleb Sturgis is officially in a funk. He hit the upright on a 48-yard attempt and had a 39-yard attempt blocked. That on the heels of last week’s missed 50-yard attempt, Sturgis has now failed on four of his last five attempts. Marcus Thigpen, meanwhile, fair caught a couple of punts that begged returns GRADE: D.

•  Coaching: Nice start but getting your team to finish is just as important. The Dolphins did one and not the other. That’s an incomplete job. Also, why does Mike Sherman not keep feeding Lamar Miller carries until his begs the coach to stop? Why? Because it might work? GRADE: F.

•  Overall: They collapsed in the second half. That is all. GRADE: F.

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